Nations League Final Preview: Will the USMNT or Canada be kings of Concacaf?

The Concacaf Nations League Semifinals saw two matches thrilling yet lopsided matches. The USMNT defeated Mexico 3-0, while Canada bested Panama 2-0. The two North American Nations meet in the second-ever Concacaf Nations League Final (CNL)!

ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 27: during the World Cup Qualifier soccer match between the US MNT and Panama on March 27, 2022 at Explorer Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire)

USMNT vs Canada for Concacaf’s Throne

These are the top two teams in the region facing off for Concacaf’s newest title. The Nation’s League was brought to Concacaf to help create more meaningful competitive matches for Nations in this region, and it seems to be paying off. Now we will see who can take the Concacaf’s throne; will it be the team that was on top heading into last December’s World Cup or the team that made it the farthest coming out of that tournament?

Canada was the top Nation through last year’s World Cup qualifying. They were dominating the region and were looked at as a dark horse to make a splash at the World Cup. They followed that up with the tournament’s second-worse showing. The USMNT finished third in World Cup Qualifying, but they showed well at the World Cup and made the knockout rounds, but were outclassed by the Netherlands. The two now meet in the Nation’s League Final each with something to prove.

Canada reign, but cherish the opportunity to show why

Canada’s reign as the top nation in the region is a new concept for many. The team has been constructed with great young talents like Alphonso Davies, Jonothan David, and Stephen Eustaquio. Their leader, John Herdman, has shown grit and tenacity that his team implements on the pitch. Now that they are playing for another opportunity to be crowned kings of Concacaf, they are chomping at the bit.

They are the nation that rose above the USMNT and Mexico. However, to truly be taken seriously as one of the big boys of the region, Canada will need to start winning trophies in the region. After failing at the World Cup there has been some doubt cast over Canada, but this team is one that should be counted as one of the best teams in Concacaf. Their opportunity to lift the CNL trophy is a good one

Canada’s ability to press and create quick attacks makes them a formidable foe. That’s how they scored their goals in the semifinals against Panama; quick passing and lethal finishing. Jonothan David scored inside the first hour with a tidy finish. Then second-half substitute Alphonso Davies stunned everyone to put the game away. A speedy touch and powerful finish from a tight angle made it 2-0 and game over.

This Canadian side should not be slept on. They are smart and direct with their play. If they can play that way against the USMNT, then maybe it’ll be the Maple Leafs back on top of Concacaf.

The USMNT looks to win second-straight CNL Final

The USMNT is right back where it wanted to be. After looking good in last winter’s World Cup Group stage, they got outcoached and outclassed in the knockout rounds. Now, is the first step toward the 2026 World Cup in terms of playing meaningful and difficult matches with a trophy on the line. The USA is looking to win its second-straight CNL title, but it won’t be a walk in the park by any stretch.

After a crazy 3-0 win over Mexico that saw tempers flare and red cards fly, the USMNT will be without talented players Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest. Without those two starters, the US will need to figure out who can pull the strings in the middle of the park, and also wide right. It will likely be Luca de la Torre coming into the midfield, and Joe Scally at right back to replace the suspended players. Even with these changes, this USA squad is still very talented and equipped to take on Canada.

This USA squad and starting XI are still stacked even with players suspended or injured. Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, Folarin Balogun, Yunus Musah, and Gio Reyna all have the quality to win a match with their play in the attack and midfield. The defense goalkeeping is strong with Antonee Robinson, Chris Richards, Miles Robinson, and Matt Turner; they should do well to limit the Canadian quick attacks. The talent is there, the execution is what will be needed to win.

You won’t want to miss this action tonight! Which North American side will be the king’s of Concacaf? Catch the game tonight at 8:30 pm ET on Paramount+ and Univision!

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Mandatory Credit: Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire